It started like this.
I broke down. Completely and literally. Anxiety took over. Stole my breath. Knocked me to my knees. I was crippled by my thoughts and the deep, deep aches. I wish I was exaggerating. But this is the reality. My body just stopped. Do you ever feel as if your entire body is packed to the bones, and you just.can't.go.on? *raises both hands*
I am just so tired friends. I am tired of the hustle. I am tired of the reaching. I am tired of being tired. It's not even the ever-growing to-do list. It's the power I give that list. It's the power I put in my work in hopes that it will give me worth. It's the priority I put on these tasks.
It's this simple fact: I have missed Jesus. I have chosen to seek validation from what I have or can or might accomplish rather than from JESUS WHO VALIDATED MY LIFE ON THE CROSS. I am thirsty. I am longing. For Jesus. For Jesus. For Jesus.
No more try hard. No more running myself ragged. A heck of a lot more filling myself with the ONLY One who can fill me, quench me.
Teach me, Jesus. Teach me.
Then this happened.
I was on my way to a church for the first time in months. And God was asking me to meet Him there. He was asking me to finally break down. To finally open my life-long clenched fists, and let Him take hold.
On the way to the church, I kept holding back tears. Trying to compose myself. After all, who wants to greet a tear-stained mess at the side door?
For some reason I had started to think about this picture I drew in high school art. It was there in my mind as clear as if I was still drawing it. It was heavens gates. You know, the tall iron gates with puffy, perfect clouds all around. I was drawing it with names scribbled on each cloud of souls lost too soon. It was my hope. Hope that I would see them again. I have no idea what became of that piece, or what the project even was.
My mind probably glorified the beauty of the picture, but that is what I saw in my mind. And I felt peace. That small reminder of something long forgotten, was what I needed to see. God knew that. He knows better than any the stubbornness I wear as a badge. So He gave me the answer, the peace in my own doing.
I know what you're thinking... I walked into that church and peace reigned, my life was changed, and all the hallelujahs fell. No ma'am.
I did leave feeling lighter. I know people say that a lot, but the anxiety that had been crippling me all day felt just a tad lighter. And that was all I needed. I didn't need the extravagant white horses to my rescue. I just needed to walk into a church. God knew that. He knew that and He got me there.
The tears still fell in the way home. But out of victory and not defeat. I had wanted to stay on the couch. I wanted to give in to the fear, the pain, the anxiety, the shut out. I wanted to say no one more time to walking through those doors. But I didn't. I didn't, and God found me in that. And I trust that He will keep finding me. Through a church door, or falling to my knees, when I give just one step, He'll give ninety-nine.
I still haven't been back to a church since that night. I still forget to talk to God. I still clench my chest with tightness. But my fists are gently, slowly, surely loosening.
So I opened to Amos.
*fails to knees, cries a puddle*
When you ask God to speak to you, boy does He answer.
God, you have given me a million and one blessings, yet I have not returned to You. I hold my greed and my anger and m fear and my pride and my worth in this world. But I have not returned to You.
Maybe I think I have. Maybe. But really, I have just kept waiting. But waiting for what? What on this side is more a blessing than what waits for me when I return to You?